Giuseppe Margiotta (or as most locals know him, “G”) has done just about everything to live in Pagosa and be near the country and people he loves.
“I’ve done everything from cleaning condos to doing land development,” he says. “I even washed dishes at the Oak Ridge Lodge, working for a meal a day. I’d cross-country ski into town because I couldn’t afford to drive,” then laughing, added, “or because there was too much snow to drive in.”
The anecdote tells a lot about the man and the reason he’s chosen Pagosa Springs as his home: a uniquely Western determinism to overcome adversity, a love of outdoor sports but, mostly, a love of the town, its residents and the surrounding country that he calls home.
A native of Long Island, N.Y., G came to Colorado in 1971 to attend college in Glenwood Springs, majoring in visual communications, ski area management and, as he said (laughing again), “To live my dream as a ski bum.”
While in college, G became certified (the highest service level) in the National Ski Patrol, a skill he continues to use to this day, teaching avalanche awareness in the area — a compelling story as he is an avalanche survivor himself.
Accepting an invitation from a college friend to spend Thanksgiving with family in Pagosa Springs, G says he immediately fell in love with the area. “I was drawn here because of the mountains, the hot springs, the quality of the snow but, especially, the quality of the people.”
Scraping together enough money to purchase a little property, G moved to Pagosa Springs in 1980, working whatever jobs he could find to survive (mostly as a carpenter for local contractors), enjoying the outdoor treasures the area offers whenever he had a spare moment. In the meantime, seeking to hedge his bets against the oft on-again-off-again vicissitudes of the construction industry (particularly capricious with Pagosa winters), G took a degree in electronic technologies in 1985, landing a job with the local water district, adding water and wastewater licenses to his résumé.
“I eventually went out on my own and started my own company,” he says, “and this is where I’ve been ever since.”
His company not only provides services for individuals looking to develop in the area — perhaps the reader of this guide — but has also provided services for the town of Pagosa Springs, Archuleta County and nearby Hinsdale County. On top of that, G does part-time work operating water and wastewater treatment plants around the area.
Despite his various ventures, it is his involvement in the community as a volunteer that has earned him the G name, chiefly amongst area teenagers.
While giving time to avalanche awareness and the National Ski Patrol, as well as the local Knights of Columbus (philanthropic stalwarts in Pagosa Country), G has devoted much of his time, and no undue alacrity, to the Pirate Achievement Center (PAC), a program for high school students who respond better to less traditional academic methods. Contributing his considerable construction skills to the program, G has mentored many area students in the art of building things, passing on his knowledge for the benefit of preparing kids for the work force while also communicating the essentials of making a contribution to society and the planet.
“We’re trying desperately to have a hands-on program to learn the building of yurts,” he says, referring to the construction of low-impact, alternative dwellings. “I’m in a place to help coordinate that.”
Likewise, G has his students ready to not just help construct proposed geothermal greenhouses in Pagosa Springs, but to also have them stick their hands in the ground and assist in attending to the gardens.
An avid Nordic and downhill skier, mountain biker, hiker, and all-around slave to all Pagosa Country has to offer, G is nonetheless clear that it is the people of Archuleta County who brought him here and keep him here.
“I’ve probably volunteered as much as I’ve worked here,” he says.